It is no secret that in life, everyone, at some point in time, faces a unique variety of challenges. Some, unexplainably, struggle more than others, and some obstacles or experiences can change the course of your entire future. No one promises things will be easy. No life is without its share of uncertainty. No one dodges God’s plan.
God does not always work in the way you would assume, or would even prefer, and He definitely does not always answer prayers within our decided time frame. It can be hard to let go of attempting to control your own destiny, but, when you really think about it, do we even have a say? Or are we going through the motions of His plan? It is so comforting that, sometimes, the dreams we have for ourselves fail to even compare to what He has in store for our future. How many times have you prayed for something, then, further down the road, realized that God was protecting you more than you could have known by saying “no” to your plea? How many times have you had to walk through something terrible, but the outcome was unbelievable?
Darryl Pratt, a local attorney, businessman, husband, father and devout Christian, never dreamed his life would change as drastically as it did earlier this year, but the power of prayer is undeniable, and he is living proof.
What seemed like a typical Tuesday morning quickly transformed into a tragedy for the Pratt family. While having lunch at Rudy’s here in Frisco with a friend, Mr. Pratt suddenly stopped mid-sentence, fell over and his heart stopped. The restaurant manager, Sean Danby, who, thankfully, was on duty at the time, immediately rushed to Mr. Pratt’s side. Even though he had not had to perform CPR in his 25 years as a manager, he performed CPR on Mr. Pratt for 10-12 minutes, and when the paramedics arrived at the scene, Mr. Pratt did not have a pulse. Even though Mr. Pratt does not remember anything about the event, not even parking or going in to the restaurant, he has been told that a pastor who ate at Rudy’s every Tuesday immediately came to his side and began praying. He also knows, undoubtedly, that Mr. Danby saved his life that day.
Mr. Pratt was transferred to Centennial Hospital, where doctors continuously told Mrs. Pratt to expect the worst. When Mrs. Pratt finally got to see her husband, she did not even know if he could hear her.
Doctors discovered that his condition stemmed from a purely electrical heart issue. He had broken ribs and a punctured lung from CPR, and was taken by CareFlite to Baylor Heart Hospital for hypothermia treatment to save his brain. Still, Mr. Pratt was in a medically-induced coma for five weeks.
After some time, doctors were able to determine that he, miraculously, had normal brain activity and his heart, also, shockingly enough, looked good. Mr. Pratt could move his fingers, arms, toes and legs on command, but when doctors tried to wake him from his coma, he got anxious. They could not risk additional problems to his heart, so he was put back in a coma. Before long, his kidneys started shutting down. Unbelievably horrific medical issues kept arising. He had to have a trachea because he could not breathe on his own and he had a feeding tube. He developed pneumonia, a bad white blood cell count, a staph infection and kidney failure, for which he had to have dialysis and a catheter line in his neck. He had a heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure and he even coded twice. A 10-centimeter blood clot was flapping in his heart, and he had to have a procedure that had only been done one other time at Baylor Heart Hospital. This operation would have been fatal if the clot broke loose and went into his lung.
The entire time Mr. Pratt’s body endured this trauma, his family had no idea the state his brain was in, or if he was even still there. Family and friends began asking what they could specifically pray for and one nurse replied with “every vital organ.”
It is hard to imagine completely missing a significant time period of your life, while your body lay in a hospital bed. During the entire five weeks of Mr. Pratt’s coma, his family kept worship music playing in his room, which he claims he did hear. Visitors and loved ones wrote scripture on static cling paper that hung all over his hospital room walls. This became a focal point for everyone who entered his room. Mrs. Pratt even shared that she often felt like the doctors did not know what to do with her hope. They would relay the negative medical facts, but she just knew God could heal her husband, one way or another.
Mr. Pratt was constantly surrounded by loved ones, and their prayer to understand God’s plan never ceased. Things continued to look grim, and at one point, Mr. Pratt’s family and friends came in to say what they thought would be their final goodbyes.
By early February, the family was prepared for the worst, and they met to plan Mr. Pratt’s funeral. Mrs. Pratt says she surrendered Mr. Pratt to the Lord. “I had to come to a full surrender stage, no matter what that looked like,” she shares. “I knew that if he was taken, he would be fine.” On February 13, Mrs. Pratt says she prayed harder than she ever had in her whole life. Her fervent prayer was that God would move, in either healing or taking Mr. Pratt. After Mrs. Pratt surrendered everything to God, on February 14, Mr. Pratt woke up. The medical professionals were completely shocked. Critical care workers even claimed that they had witnessed a miracle. Mr. Pratt opened his eyes. His family, faithfully trusting in God’s promises the whole time, witnessed the power of God, firsthand.
When listening to Mr. Pratt’s story, some people may chalk the details up to coincidence, but he begs to differ. His journey over the past several months involves more than the stars aligning or sheer luck. The timing of the whole ordeal he experienced was undoubtedly orchestrated by God, and Mr. Pratt believes that the man, Mr. Danby, who was working at the local Rudy’s, was put in his path for a reason. Because of this stranger’s courage and ability to conduct CPR, Mr. Pratt would be able to go home to his wife and continue to help raise his children. He will not be absent for his daughters’ graduations, weddings and major life moments. There are not many other people who experience such severe medical issues that get to say the same thing. “God used his hands to save my life,” Mr. Pratt says about Mr. Danby. “He was the vessel the Lord used to make sure I saw another day.”
Today, Mr. Danby is in need of help himself. This father of four recently started kidney dialysis and is on a transplant list. The Pratt family feels so devoted to him and hopes to help the man who so selflessly saved Mr. Pratt’s life. This is another time that the prayers of the community are needed. The Pratts also hope that because of the amazing, life-saving impact of CPR, other people and businesses will see the importance of taking classes and getting certified.
What comes next for the Pratt family is still not totally certain. What is certain is that Mr. Pratt lived through his medical emergency for a reason, and he plans to share his story as a testament to God’s power, love and grace. “We are going to share this story. We do not want to keep it to ourselves. It is all about the Lord,” he says. His family endured one of the hardest times because God not only had something to teach them, but, for some reason, had something to teach the many people around them — medical professionals, health care providers and loved ones.
Mr. Pratt has things left to accomplish on Earth before he joins his Savior in heaven. Some people do not get second chances, but others learn something from their struggles — it is almost like they still have a mission to complete before they go. “Jesus still does miracles,” Mr. Pratt says. He wholeheartedly believes that because his family trusted in and released themselves to the will of God and they, alongside his friends, pastors and community, prayed for his recovery, he gets to live and share his testimony.
Between physical rehab from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. multiple days a week to sharing the story of his miraculous journey, everything is different for Mr. Pratt now. He still cannot feel his feet or move his right hand, but should recover more with time (likely another 12-18 months). He can stand and walk with a walker. From a medical standpoint, Mr. Pratt should not have survived his ordeal. “This is a miracle. Only the Lord can heal this way,” Mrs. Pratt shares. She draws reassurance of this strength from Hebrews 13:5, in which the Lord says He will never leave or forsake us.
“Slow down and enjoy life,” Mr. Pratt shares. “Do not miss an opportunity to tell someone that you care about them.” For many people, the thought of borderless trust in God is unfathomable. For others, like the Pratt family, it is the only imaginable way to live. “We want people to know about the hope in Christ. God does do miracles every day. We get so busy that we do not stop to notice little miracles,” Mrs. Pratt shares. “You never know what a day will bring. Let your loved ones know you love them.”